Sarawak Cops Take Down Crypto-Mining Operations Worth More Than RM155,000 After Receiving Help From Locals

This illegal operation cost Sarawak more than RM32,500 in electricity per month.
(credit: Malay Mail)

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These days, cryptocurrencies are the new gold. Everyone is obsessed with it and is attempting to mine as much as they can. However, cryptocurrency mining is very expensive and uses a lot of electricity. Some people will even break the law just to avoid paying for the electricity.

In a recent joint operation with Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) in Kota Samarahan, the police confiscated a total of 147 active cryptocurrency mining devices and equipment valued at more than RM155,000.

In a statement, SEB expressed its gratitude to the general public for the information that helped identify electricity theft at two Uni Central locations.

During the raids, direct tapping cables that had been hidden by fiberboard and cable trunks and connected directly to buildings were discovered.

From the raids, SEB has estimated a loss of approximately RM32,500 per month from unrecorded electricity consumption from the two premises.

Due to the amount of heat generated, cryptocurrency mining often requires cooling units to prevent its servers from overheating. Non-standard fuses and illegal wiring connections commonly used in electricity theft can lead to short circuits, damaged appliances, fires and loss of lives.

Such mining activities can also overload the electrical system capacity, causing local outages and inconveniencing those living nearby.

The mining operators used soundproof foam to insulate the premises and reduce noise from being detected by the authorities. The foam which is made of combustible material can easily catch fire if exposed to extreme heat.

Sarawak Energy Berhad

According to Section 33(5) of the Electricity Ordinance, stealing electricity is a dangerous act that is punishable by up to RM100,000 in fines and/or five years in prison if found guilty.

To find individuals responsible for the crime, SEB will keep cooperating closely with the Ministry of Utility and Telecommunication, the Fire and Rescue Department, and the police.

SEB added that the general public should exercise caution when dealing with service providers who make claims about their ability to cut down on power usage or who promise to give property owners unrestricted access to electricity through metre manipulation.

“Meter inspection teams are trained to detect various electricity theft methods, including tampered meters, fake electricity meter covers and underground direct tapping.

Landlords are also advised to be mindful of their tenants’ activities and have their power utility accounts registered under the tenant’s name in order to avoid being implicated in power theft crime.

Sarawak Energy Berhad

If you live in Sarawak and you have any information regarding suspicious activities involving power theft and service companies claiming to be able to decrease electricity usage, you should contact SEB customer care centre at 1300-88-3111 or email them at customercare@sarawakenergy.com.

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